Thursday, July 3, 2014

One Plus One

As promised, my second reading recommendation for the long holiday weekend is something a bit more beach-friendly-- One Plus One by Jojo Moyes. Though I've only read one other novel by Moyes (her breakout hit, Me Before You), it's clear that she's found a formula that works and is sticking to it. Both novels tell similar girl-meets-boy stories in which the girl and boy come from different economic classes, have a tenuous employer/ employee connection, and end up embarking on a life adventure together even while each is working through their own personal hardship. In some ways, the characters in One Plus One are indistinguishable from the characters in Me Before You, other than the fact that the former are not embroiled in such tragic circumstances. This is not necessarily a criticism, though. By cribbing some of the best elements from Me Before You but lightening up the mood a bit, Moyes may have actually created a novel that offers more in the way of straightforward reading enjoyment.

The main character of One Plus One is Jess Thomas, a young single mother who is struggling to make ends meet so that she can support her math whiz daughter, Tanzie, and her sullen teenage stepson, Nicky. She cleans houses for a living, including the seaside home where Ed Nicholls, a successful software entrepreneur, is laying low while he's under investigation for insider trading. The stress he's under causes Ed to act rudely when he meets Jess for the first time. To make up for it--decent guy that he actually is--he pulls over to offer his assistance when he sees Jess stopped on the side of the road one night, children, dog, and ancient car in tow. His attempt at being a good Samaritan ends up resulting in him offering to drive Jess and her family to a math competition in Scotland, which could be Tanzie's ticket to a fancy private school and an improved life. The road trip brings a series of mishaps, dramatic events, and emotionally charged reunions with people from both Jess and Ed's past. Though surprises pop up along the way, the overall plot trajectory is easy to predict and each passing occurrence bring Jess and Ed further from their initial antagonism and closer to each other. 

This is a novel that fans of Moyes will surely love, and that others will very likely enjoy as some comfortable summer reading.

Now that you've had two recommendations from me, do tell--what will you be reading this Fourth of July weekend?

A copy of this book was provided to me by Penguin. All thoughts and opinions in this post are my own.

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